William Schaefer was born on February 28, 1918, in Cleveland, Ohio. He studied at Miami (Ohio) University, the University of Michigan, and the Juilliard School of Music. During World War II, he was a bandmaster in the U.S. Army. From 1947-1952, he led the Kiltie Band of the Carnegie Institute of Technology and then joined the music faculty of the University of Southern California. He has lectured throughout the United States and in England, France, and Germany.
Schaefer’s major contribution to band literature consists of may fine arrangements of music of the masters. Among his more notable arrangements are Wellington’s Victory (Beethoven) and Symphony No. 9 (Shostakovich).